THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

15 February ~ Rangers FC are now in administration. Not only has this happened far quicker than anyone anticipated but it transpires that the fault lies most squarely with current owner Craig Whyte. Perhaps appropriately for the club that flies more Union Jacks than any other in Britain, it was Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs that finally, conclusively exposed the Rangers chairman as a fly-by-night. Whyte applied for administration on Monday with a statement claiming Rangers could never win the case brought against the club for tax evasion by the previous owner. HMRC, however, went to court on Tuesday solely to chase taxes unpaid since Whyte's takeover in May 2011.

Such were the accelerated claims and counter-claims, some fans felt briefly relieved that Rangers were going down this draconian route by their own hand. HMRC would, according to Whyte, be owed anything up to £75 million if they won the large legacy tax case against the club. This was apparently driving the authority's late attempt to control the administration process at Ibrox.

When the court decreed that Whyte could appoint the administrators, it made it almost impossible for the tax authorities to recoup all they are owed. Entering administration nine days earlier than anticipated, and surrendering the SPL title to Celtic, seemed worth it.

HMRC were expected to be the largest creditor, so Whyte appeared to have won a courtroom victory. The threat of liquidation had abated. However, former Ibrox chairman Alastair Johnston immediately contested – in the court of Sky Sports News – Whyte's recent assertion that the legacy tax bill could be more than £49m.

Late on Tuesday HMRC confirmed it had acted that day regarding only a previously-unpublicised £9m in taxes unpaid since Whyte took control of Rangers. Along with the £24m he borrowed on future season ticket sales, this means Whyte has created a debt of at least £33m in just nine months. Emotional scenes outside Ibrox turned angry as the chairman was recast as an asset-stripper.

SPL rules state that Rangers will be deducted ten points. So, although they remain well ahead of third-place Motherwell, Celtic have all but won the title. If Rangers are not out of administration by the end of March they will be disqualified from next season's European competitions.

PFA Scotland have met with the players. As the most senior figure at Ibrox they can trust, manager Ally McCoist is now unimpeachable with the fans. David Murray has been the first off-stage character to deny he is about to buy Rangers back from Whyte.

We have seen this week exactly how much the club is hated, but also the depth and breadth of love for it. I blame no one for wanting Rangers liquidated. Neither do I blame Murray for our present state. He tried everything to please a support seemingly satisfied by nothing.

Rangers' commercial exploitability has been given one huge cross-platform, multimedia advert this week. Its establishment image has been decisively binned but the scale of the club's support has been thoroughly marketed. A full, loud house is expected when Kilmarnock visit on Saturday – providing the police have been paid. Alex Anderson

Comments (46)
Comment by Coral 2012-02-15 15:43:17

I am getting left behind in the footballing world. I kow my 3-5-2 from my 4-4-2 but I struggle with the finance side of things. Can anyone summerise how this has happened as I still don't understand how going into adminisitration means the HRMC don't get their/our money because I thought they needed to agree to take only a proportion of what they are owed for administration to happen?

Comment by THC 2012-02-15 16:00:58

Scapegoat Whyte all you like but the problems with Ratners FC pre-date and go far deeper than him. Look to the Murray regime for the EBT abuse and the unsustainable and inflationary spending that has poisoned the well for the whole of Scottish football. It is deeply ironic that the club that started this vicious spiral may yet become its biggest casualty.

Comment by THC 2012-02-15 16:01:47

Coral, the excellent Rangers Tax Case blog sums this case up at http://rangerstaxcase.com/2011/03/28/what-is-rangers-tax-case-all-about/

Comment by Coral 2012-02-15 17:26:57

Super stuff, thanks for that.

So what has Whyte done worse than what they had set up with the EBT? Surely there must be some reason for people to dislike him?

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-15 17:26:58

Whyte is hugely culpable for Rangers' financial mess. The amount by which he's managed to increase the debt in such a short period of time is remarkable. He's sold Jelavic. He's mortgaged season ticket sales. But still the HMRC are chasing Rangers for unpaid VAT and PAYE of a value roughly equal to Aberdeen's annual turnover.

But Murray is massively responsible for this too. Years of profligacy, characterised by his vulgar 'for every five pounds Celtic spend we'll spend ten' boast, and the folly of the EBTs have saddled the club with debt equal to - according to the best estimates/predictions - more than twice their annual turnover.

I can't see how Whyte would ever have envisaged it turning out any other way. Theories as to why he's there abound. I suspect he has a plan. He is a secured creditor, after all.

And I suspect the biggest loser at the end of all this will be not Rangers, and not Whyte (although he may not be the man in charge when the dust settles), but the taxpayer.

Comment by TheRedMax 2012-02-15 19:28:40

If anyone has a spare 48 hours, this is being discussed at length over on the WSC Message Board. There's a lot of dross to trawl through but you'll get the gist eventually.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-02-15 19:32:28

Coral, THC - LOL! Superb, lads. "Ratners FC" - comedy gold. CHEAP gold, obviously ...

How can wits THAT sharp not understand what's been explained by every sports outlet an financial journalist in the country for the last two days? S'a rite ole head-scratcher ...

The indeed EXCELLENT Rangers Tax Case blog is a brilliant example of the time and trouble people will go to when football, for them, starts being more about the hate than the love. The day I spend THAT much time obsessing about a rival club's inner workings rather than focussing on my own team or just the beautiful game as a whole, it's time to join Craig Whyte in Monte Carlo.

And can you actually "scapegoat" Whyte when blaming him for someting which is entirely his fault? But - hey - I think you guys know that, really. Dontcha!

now, MARK - markrpoole has the right idea: He's scapegoating a man who won so many trophies for Rangers it makes Mark sick. And what he's blaming Sir David Murray for is damage to everyone's personal finances ... and "vulgarity". Yup. "Vulgarity" - in football - I shit you not. He's accusing someone involved in the hitherto mannerly, subtle and decorous world of Association Football of vulgarity. And he's doing it as if it's a real insult too.

Now THAT's scapegoating. Ye have to get a bit of wholly misplaced, even faux-, moral outrage in there. Ye see, Mark's not just on here coz he doesn't like Rangers - Mark's doing this because he cares about you and me and all the little grannnies out there who'll lose their heating allowance next winter because a chairman bought a lot of players for a football team.

Furfu**ssakes, Mark - ... gie us both a brek: when ye've finished with the po-faced ambulance-chasing why don't ye get a few back copies of Private Eye and find out where the real HMRC scandals are ... then remind yourself exactly how much money was put IN to Scottish football as a whole by Murray's "profligacy".

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-15 19:51:12

Jings, I wasn't expecting an answer like that Alex. I was actually worried my comments were a bit bland. I'm not sure exactly which of them you're disagreeing with.

I'm not scapegoating David Murray. I'm saying his spending was reckless and it contributed extensively to Rangers' current plight. Why else was it so hard to find a suitable buyer? Craig Whyte's guilty of many things, but not the EBTs.

There's no moral outrage (misplaced, faux or otherwise) in my comment. It pisses me off as a taxpayer - and a socialist - that the Treasury will miss out on so many millions, but anger and moral outrage are two different things. And for the record, I'm a Private Eye subscriber and I'm equally angry with Vodafone and the rest. Good few mentions of the EBTs in Private Eye too, by the way.

Was the massive tax burden and debt that Murray Rangers with not evidence of profligacy?

Was his 'for every five pounds Celtic spend...' quote not vulgar?

Was it made any less vulgar by the fact that other people in football have been vulgar too?

Did that quote not characterise the manner in which he ran the club?

The Rangers fans I know are worried (as I'm sure you are - and the fans' fears don't give me any pleasure). But they know that a large chunk of the blame for what has happened to the club lies with Murray.

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-15 19:55:56

PS. I'm not saying Murray is a vulgar man. I only applied it to his infamous quote.

Comment by Alan Chambers 2012-02-15 20:12:45

Will football never learn. On the same day that we announce the intention of going in to administration we also announce the signing, or attempted signing of Daniel Cousin with a wage of either 5 or 7.5 thousand per week. Now this action will see us deducted 10 points and cement our 2nd place in the league and yet we still try to sign Cousin. Why?

Comment by multipleman78 2012-02-15 22:24:38

everyone is blaming Murray for this EBT thingymajig and as he was in charge at the time then i guess he has to take the stick but that stick will only be fair and proper if we actually lose the case. From what i have heard we are hardly alone in using these schemes and i am positive that the folks at Rangers thought it was legal, maybe not morally a wonderful thing but legal nonetheless. If mistakes were made leaving Rangers open to this investigation then yes Murray must take the flak.

Our debt was 18 million and as i said in earlier post that had come down from over 50 million. What people seem to forget is that Murray ran Rangers without any fear as the bank were happy with the debt we had. Then came the recession and this always gets forgotten. It was only then that the bank suddenly said "gie us oor money." This is what forced Murray's hand and left him looking like the bad guy.

He may have taken bad advice on the EBT's or relied on the bank's good will a bit too much but his intentions were for the good of Rangers. The fact that Whyte has paid no tax since May and is disappearing millions of cash that should have went in to our coffers makes me feel that unlike Murray he is not making mistakes, he is playing his game to suit himself.

Comment by Coral 2012-02-16 10:15:35

I am mostly pro Rangers Alex. I genuinely don't get the ins and outs of football finances as sadly I was brought up watching football. Now to understand the gripes of Man Utd, Liverpool, West Ham etc fans I have to be good at finance. I am not so I asked if anyone could quickly summerise what has happened.

Chill out and go rage some Celtic fans.

Comment by Hofzinser 2012-02-16 10:21:12

Goodness, Alex - this has all hit you VERY hard, hasn't it?

[quote]
"The indeed EXCELLENT Rangers Tax Case blog is a brilliant example of the time and trouble people will go to when football, for them, starts being more about the hate than the love. The day I spend THAT much time obsessing about a rival club's inner workings rather than focussing on my own team or just the beautiful game as a whole, it's time to join Craig Whyte in Monte Carlo.[/quote]

Your leaden sarcasm aside, that blog has indeed been excellent - consistently vastly more informative and vastly more informed than the rest of the press put together. The (as far as I know undisclosed) allegiances or otherwise of the author seems to me utterly irrelevant and it's a bit point-missing to bring it up.


[quote]now, MARK - markrpoole has the right idea: He's scapegoating a man who won so many trophies for Rangers it makes Mark sick. And what he's blaming Sir David Murray for is damage to everyone's personal finances ... and "vulgarity". Yup. "Vulgarity" - in football - I shit you not. He's accusing someone involved in the hitherto mannerly, subtle and decorous world of Association Football of vulgarity. And he's doing it as if it's a real insult too.[/quote]

Other people do shitty stuff so that gets us off the hook when we do it too! The Rangers way, eh? Dignity.


[quote]Furfu**ssakes, Mark - ... gie us both a brek: when ye've finished with the po-faced ambulance-chasing why don't ye get a few back copies of Private Eye and find out where the real HMRC scandals are ...[/quote]

Any argument along the lines of "why are you worried about [this bad thing], when there are so many other worse things happening in the world?" is nearly always a terrible. I'm not sure this is an exception.

Your initial posts on this have been good, but your replies to others over the last couple of days have been excellent demonstrations of why very few people in Scottish football have any sympathy with Rangers' plight.

Comment by Hofzinser 2012-02-16 10:22:07

My attempts at quoting didn't quite work (no tags allowed it seems) but hopefully it's clear which bit is me and which isn't.

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-16 10:30:01

Hi Coral,

Craig Whyte promised to invest millions into Rangers.

Instead he's sold Jelavic (£5 million, I think), mortgaged a few years' season-ticket sales, and run up a £9 million unpaid PAYE and VAT bill (it was for this bill that HMRC wanted to put them into administration; instead Rangers managed to voluntarily put themselves into administration, which meant Craig Whyte got to appoint his favourite administrators). He pays bills at the last minute and only if he's forced to.

The fact that he has favourite administrators probably tells us everything we need to know about him. He seems to have a dodgy track record with buying businesses, and somehow profiting from putting them into administration (he's been disqualified from being a director because of this sort of thing).

Apparently he's split Rangers into two halves: one for the club and one for the property, which may provide a key to his motives. No one knows what his motives are, but everyone's suspicious of him. But his was the only deal on the table when Murray sold Rangers.

I completely agree with multipleman78's opinion that - unlike Murray, who made dangerous mistakes while aiming too high for Rangers - Whyte has a personal plan.

I guess maybe Alex didn't want to tell you what was so bad about Whyte because it takes so long to list everything!

Cheers, Mark

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-16 10:59:23

Hi Hofzinser, I'm glad to hear you're not having exactly the same go at me as Alex was. I was starting to get paranoid. And, as a Celtic fan, I'm obviously not used to experiencing paranoia.

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-16 11:00:54

PS. The rangerstaxcase blog is so good I think it should be used as an example in social media lectures. Down the road, The Guardian and The Telegraph have both sung its praises, while up here it was routinely attacked in the press early on.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-02-16 11:14:15

@Coral - LOL! Yeah, yeah, yeah. Heard it. You need to change your moniker or change the tactic mate. If you appear on enough threads under aricles about Rangers, Celtic, the Ballon d'Or or - last example I noticed - Fabio Capello being a diva, being saracastic and spiteful in all of them it does eventually get noticed. You did well getting a rise out me so, like Craig Whyte, cut your losses and be on your way ...

@markrpoole - be with you in a minute or two, Mark ...



Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-02-16 12:11:32

@Hofzinser - No, mate - no worries about your cutting and pasting (of my posts AND the look-at-them-they're-all-the-same digs which can be found on any Follow Follow or Celtic Minded rant site in the webosphere). I think it was very clear which bit was you:

The stuff which tries to paint my obvious upset at the possible death of my football club as being a prime example of how Rangers have no dignity - that's very obviously not me. Think it's clear that's absolutely you.

The straight-faced refusal to see the Rangers tax case website as anything other than a public service - very obviously you.

The creepy "you're good at THIS but lately you've been letting yourself down" insult sandwich. - Yeah. That'll be you again.

And if you have the same forensic level of interest as the Rangerstaxcase site has in Rangers, in every HMRC case in the UK, or indeed any Scottish social injustice of a lesser, comparable or worse nature then GOOD ON YOU - you are 100% correct to slate me for trying to contextualise it , I wish you all the best in your campaigns, and can only feel humble that you've taken the time out of your unbelievably busy schedule to e-mail me.


Look: See how you started your post, with the "my my this is really pissing you off" sarky patter. That's good - that's fine. I respect that (and PS OF COURSE it's hit me FU**ING hard, Sherlock! - if my club going into administration didn't hit me hard then I'd have no right to type a football-related word ever again). Rangers have dominated in Scotland for decades and we've been sickening media darlings for a century - it's the job of rival fans to get ripped in and slaughter Rangers fans when we start biting the dust big time. Football fandom is based on many things but part of it is a frenzied myopia which we can't turn on and off like a tap - you can't spend a lifetime hoping your team hammers everything in front of it then expect the fans of those other clubs to be sending you flowers and chocolates when it goes wrong. I WANT the slaggings - it reminds me of the fun of the game. But being sarcastic one minute then, in the next breath, critical of me for doing the same and using me, one Bluenose expressing his personal take on things to sum up "what Rangers are all about" would be flattering if you didn't do it only the second you feel you can characterize my feelings or the expressions thereof in a negative light ... ach, it's just as nonsensical as it is horrible.

One question - when you were reading my "good initial posts" over the last few days did you think "That sums up the Rangers way - total dignity."?

I'm being honest - I'm upset. You do the same. Because so far I certainly wouldn't dream of using your patter to characterise the friends of mine who support rival clubs.

@markrpoole - sorry, Mark - You've put most time into replying so it means you go to the back of the queue (Yup - just like our outstanding tax cases - biggest one last). Will be with you soon ... bet you're excited

Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-02-16 13:12:39

@Alan Chambers - Aye, Shitey Whytey let it be known he'd signed Cousin BEFORE he announced the intention to go into administration. That he probably did one thing about half an hour before the other is yet another example of the brazen venality of the guy ... or perhaps he put down the phone after telling McCoist Cousin's application to play in the SPL was in the post and then phoned his lawyer to start administration proceedings, knowing full well he was scuppering Cousin's chances of playing for us again. To be honest with ye, Alan it's a spit in the ocean comapred to what he's been up to since May last year but - yeah - whatever the timeline of the Cousin "signing" it was Whyte being a shyster again. Shite times all round.


@Multipleman78

100% agreed,Sir (by the way, is the Multipleman78 moniker a tribute to a particular member of our 1977/78 treble-winning-season?If 78 is the year of your birth I'm gonnae shoot myself - kick an old man while he's down why dontya!): Murray's legal guilt or innocence over the EBTs has yet to be established. Even if found guilty by the tribunal judgement in the next few weeks I think he's morally blameless (on the EBT score anyway - I don't know absolutely everything else he gets up to...).

Other than the tax evasion he would be guilty of professional negligence but,in trying to find a way to legally avoid paying tax - because that is what properly-managed EBTs are - so that Rangers could make the best of our income and win more trophies, he's no different to anyone else who has CORRECTLY run an EBT (which, morally, can be seen as "getting away with it") and he's the epitome of what most people would want in charge of their football team - a chairman who is busting a gut to win you stuff.

Whyte, on the other hand, is just running us into the ground, using the money of the fans (Ticketus) and the players (PAYE) to do so and even potentially sacrificing a 4th-straight SPL title by bringing us to this point far earlier than we had to, if we even ever had to go into admin at all (Again - that'll be established by the big tax case judgement at the end of next month).

Murray had such a personal fortune that he stood to gain little personally from his running of Rangers other than, perhaps, a boost to his business profile - as soon as the Rangers Supporters Trust started laying into him, after half the Ibrox crowd were expressing dissatisfaction all through NINE IN A BLOODY ROW (!), he would have been sharply disabused of the notion that success at Rangers was a guarantee of good headlines, or even favour amongst half the Rangers support. But he continued on, nonetheless, rising to the new challenge of a spending Celtic under the guru-esque Martin O'Neil (thank god all Martin's signings were fair and above board eh - that way we can be all moralistic about Rangers transfer dealings!), and taking us to our first European final in 36 years and our only other post-war winning of three-straight titles.

What Murray's done wrong is, as everyone's new favourite magazine Private Eye, pointed out, was using at least one EBT scheme
promoted by Paul Baxendale-Walker, a lawyer previously struck off for double-dipping and previously suspended for defrauding pensioners. The moment his name was involved the HMRC's ears pricked up. They were ready to pounce the moment some of the EBT payments were not structured tightly enough.

And the moment this was raised, the fan groups who wanted rid of Murray suddenly decided they'd never hounded him to win more trophies, quicker and in better style. Everything which went wrong was entirely his fault yet everything we did right - and Rangers have been very, very right on many, many occasions over the last 22 years - was nothing to do with SDM.

The moment there's a knighthood there's almost always something dodgy going on and that was SDM's one muck-up at Ibrox - Whyte, by slight contrast, is an out and out crook. He should hve a whole fu*8ing Round Table built for him down Camelot way ...

Comment by Hofzinser 2012-02-16 13:29:00

The thing is, Alex, people have come on and commented, quite legitimately, on aspects surrounding the case - perhaps from a differing perspective to you, but that surely is also fine. But they've come on and stuck purely to the case itself, given their opinions on it and tried to carry on the discussion - to which you've responded (today and previously) by sticking the boot in, playing the man and not the ball like a rhetorical Lee McCulloch. You've attempted to ridicule any contributors (most bloggers enjoy discussion being fomented by their posts!) and barely hidden your contempt. It's pretty poor, really, which is why I decided to stick my oar in. I appreciate this isn't the easiest time for Rangers fans but that's not really an excuse.

As for:
"And if you have the same forensic level of interest as the Rangerstaxcase site has in Rangers, in every HMRC case in the UK, or indeed any Scottish social injustice of a lesser, comparable or worse nature then GOOD ON YOU - you are 100% correct to slate me for trying to contextualise it , I wish you all the best in your campaigns, and can only feel humble that you've taken the time out of your unbelievably busy schedule to e-mail me."

You have utterly missed the point. The whole point is that obviously not everyone can devote loads of energy to each individual case of injustice and it would be stupid trying. But that doesn't mean that anyone who is spending time on anything other than what everyone agrees is the most important is wasting their time or somehow being hypocritical. People can investigate whatever story they happen to have the opportunity to get their teeth into, and people can be interested in whatever one they damn please. Wailing "but there are so many people so much worse than us!!" is stupid and irrelevant.

Comment by Coral 2012-02-16 14:13:29

Alex, you appear to have gone a bit mental. I genuinely am trying to understand the story. Essentially though I don't really care because I am a Norwich fan living in England. The fact that the Scottish Premiership has some how got even more predictable is the only thing that interests me.

Was that later spikey remark better for you?

Comment by Efficient Baxter 2012-02-16 15:26:50

I found this article and previous updates well written and professional. This perception has been completely blown away by the reaction of the author on here to some quite bland posts. Bizarre.

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-16 15:52:06

By the way, there's no such thing as a 'properly run EBT' for players' salaries. That's the problem.

It's a blatant, illegal attempt to avoid paying Income Tax and National Insurance. EBTs can only be used for irregular bonus payments, and HMRC are clamping down on that now too.

But if you take tax advice from a lawyer who's been struck off for defrauding pensioners you can get yourself into a right fankle.

So yes, Murray has to share the blame for Rangers' mess because he was ultimately responsible, overspent, and willfully took dodgy advice (in an attempt to win yet more trophies, yes) that has led Rangers into a potentially ruinous tax case that they look unlikely to win. And even if they do win it, it meant they ended up having to sell to the only man willing to take them on, who we all agree is not really appropriate for the position.

Comment by Robert 2012-02-16 16:03:15

@Alex:

Excellent article.

@THC:

The website you refer to as excellent knew as much about the real reasons for Rangers' administration as anyone else, i.e. the square root of hee-haw.

And Alex is absolutely right to point out that it is run by an author whose sole reasons for existence appear to be shadenfreud, hatred, self-aggrandisement and, of course, mock-offence.

When someone devotes such a large percentage of their adult life to the demonising of a football team they don't like very much, eyebrows will naturally be raised.


Comment by Robert 2012-02-16 16:11:59

@markrpoole:

Whether David Murray is responsible for any of this remains to be seen.
What is clear now, and has been since Tuesday, is that Craig Whyte's behaviour is the reason Rangers are in Admin. That has nothing to do with Murray.

If the EBT tribunal finds Rangers owe £49m (or maybe that should be "when" as we have been constantly told it will) then, yes, you can blame Murray for that. However the outcome has yet to be announced.

The current issue has nothing to do with that and everything to do with the new owner trousering a million quid a month of tax money, all the while pointing the finger at others.

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-16 16:16:48

I agree completely about Whyte. I've been much more critical of him than Murray in my comments.

But the reason they had to sell to Whyte was because of the financial position they were in a year ago. The club were being run by the bank well before Whyte turned up.

Comment by Hofzinser 2012-02-16 16:28:24

This current demonising of the RTC blog by Rangers is very curious.

This is a blog which anyone with eyes can see has been consistently informative and consistently ahead of every other media outlet in terms of what it was telling us, and when. It has pertinent facts explained clearly and in detail and in a form that just isn't available anywhere else. It's been linked to and recommended by several national media outlets.

It's the sort of resource, in short, that Rangers fans should have been lapping up over the last few months, as it was providing them valuable, and urgent, information about their club that no one else was giving them.

Instead, they just give brusque dismissals of it (without ever, of course, making any reference to its contents or attempting to show that anything within it is wrong), or they indulge in dark mutterings and innunendo about the author and his motivations, as if writing a blog about a subject which thousands of people find interesting is somehow a bit odd or creepy.

It's weird, and kind of fascinating.

Comment by Robert 2012-02-16 16:30:59

@mark:

"the reason they had to sell to Whyte was because of the financial position they were in"

Yes - in complete agreement there. However, that says nothing about his behaviour since May, which is the sole reason Rangers are in administration.
Let me put it another way, in the unlikely event that Rangers are found to have no tax liability, the club would be in no danger whatsoever, were it being run in the same manner it has been for the last few years.

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-16 16:37:44

Robert, we agree that the two massive problems for Rangers are:

1. Craig Whyte - definitely
2. The EBTs - probably

Where we disagree is on whether their business plan was sustainable before Whyte (when they were banking with Lloyds). I'm happy to agree to disagree on that, if you are? Lloyds seemed pretty alarmed by the club's financial position then, but the £18m debt they were in seems less scary now, compared to what we've all found out in the last several months.

Cheers, Mark

Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-02-16 16:55:32

@markrpoole - Mark, the Telegraph-reading socialist (by the way, they sell the Telegraph and the Guardian in Scotland too ... NO - SORRY! [Damn it, Alex! Give it a rest! Yer just being petty now] Sorry, Mark - sorry, mate - cannae help maself ... been a rough few days ...

So - "jings" - you weren't expecting that kind of reply, Mark? Good - a wee shock is just what you need to get the true flavour of my week. If you want to do me the honour of getting involved on passing judgements on who did what at Rangers then it's only fair that, Hemingwayesque, I give you a real visceral feel for what us protagonists are going through. I try to give good value ...

And, continuing with the sarcasm, I must apologise for not being specific enough in what aspects of your post I was disagreeng with. I should have spelled out more clearly my annoyance with your description of The Murray Mint as vulgar :-) One whole ranting paragraph in which I mention "vulgarity" and "vulgar" about 438 times would usually do it but - nope ...:-)

Oh no, wait a minute, you've gone on to list specifics - you must, then, have arrived at a better idea of what I was disagreeing with: And - YES! - you DID get that the "vulgar" thing was something which I disagreed with.

Oh, and thanks for picking up the slack with Coral, above - giving him the info he needs. I hope that, despite being the only guy I know who can write but not read, he finally understands what Whyte's done wrong now you've given him an outline. Ye saved me a task there.

I'm glad you can manage moral outrage without any anger, Mark :-) - a trick you must teach me - but if you were feeling neither or, rather, not trying to impersonate someone feeling either, I can only humbly apologise. And how do you get "pissed off as a taxpayer and a socialist" without moral anger? See, mate - it's stuff like that which makes me think yer doing a bit of grave-dancing. Fair dues - just wish ye'd do it more honestly.

As Lawell tells the world Celtic don't need Rangers I wonder why you feel the need to get all worried about EBTs and who was to blame for what debt at Rangers. The reason for no other buyers is no-one else had enough money to keep us in the vulgar style to which we were accustomed and no-one else came up to Murray's standards. He wouldn't have sold to Whyte if Lloyds hadn't pushed him into it. I know that as well as you or your Rangers supporter frieds know that the big tax case scared off better investors.

"I'm a socialist" - seriously? You're going to do that? Let your arguments speak for you - the only badges we should be throwing about here are football ones. I'm a Troskyist Republican - frankly I'm DELIGHTED Rangers are sticking it to this plutocracy which goes by the name of "Monrachy" and denying The Man his cut of our hard-earned. It's all shell suits ad buckie-drinkers on the Copland Road on match day - Britain's underclass are fighting back through their football club's non-conformity.

Give me a sec ...

Comment by multipleman78 2012-02-16 17:05:54

The state that Rangers were in when Whyte took over was 18 million in debt. That debt had been coming down and Murray had overseen that period of relaignment. No one had ever called Murray on Rangers debt before but what is constantly being forgotten is the financial climate that David Murray could never predict. Since 2008 the World has seen the worst recession in our memory and this is what led the bank to start harassing Rangers and ultimately taking some control in the club and effectively leading Murray to sell to a parasite.

Lets assume that the tax case goes against Rangers. If that is the case then i will agree, Murray is at fault. I doubt even Alex would argue that. He was the boss, he takes the stick. I dont even think David Murray would argue that.

Comment by Robert 2012-02-16 17:17:01

@Mark:

I'm happy to disagree but I'll address the subsequent point you made regarding Lloyds.
David Murray's main business debts dwarfed that £18m.
Furthermore, £18m debt is not an outrageous amount for a club of Rangers size.
Even furthermore, the club turned in a profit as well as slashing what was once a £70m debt.
So, yes I'll agree to disagree but to say the business (leaving aside the EBT case) was unsustainable is absurd.

Comment by Coral 2012-02-16 17:17:19

HEy Alex the reason I posted my questions was because your article lacks a bit of balance which is to be expected and respected given your views. I also find it hard to pick out exactly what it was that he had done wrong. I can read but that should not be misunderstood for comprehension. For example you said

"When the court decreed that Whyte could appoint the administrators, it made it almost impossible for the tax authorities to recoup all they are owed"

So I asked "Can anyone summerise how this has happened as I still don't understand how going into adminisitration means the HRMC don't get their/our money because I thought they needed to agree to take only a proportion of what they are owed for administration to happen?"

Someone did and it seemed the the EBT was the key issue and was imposed before Whyte so I was then interested to see why he got most of the blame.

I thought people reading your article would be able to fill me in on what I am missing. Sure enough people gave me some opposite views and a bit of extra information so my hunch was correct. For my toubles I got a bucket load of bile from you. The fact I struggled to pick out some facts from your article is further supported by my near inability to work my way through each of your rants. Hope for your sake and all other fans of Rangers things get sorted out, but aside from that I genuinely don't give a toss. It would be the same if it was Celtic (sadly I feel I have to add in the caveat). Just wanted to know a few ins and outs because it seemed to be dominating the news and my usual apporach of switching off when the Scottish league scores comes on has not been enough to keep it out of my thoughts.

Will leave you to it.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-02-16 17:20:51

@markrpoole - PART II:

TheRangersTaxCase blog is excellent. In and of itself it's very detailed, and well laid out and has been well maintained. Can't blame you for thinking I was slagging it outright, in amongst all that leaden sarcasm of mine which whatshisface so cleverly spotted, but it has many, many intrinsic merits. But please agree with me that it's a work powered by a determination to undermine Rangers as much as by the obvious tax knowledge anorakishness of the blogger. I mean, when we're denying that stuff is even coming frm a pro- or anti-Rangers pov when its comments and posts make that blatantly obvious then, hey, the trust breaks down between us, dude :-)

Henrik Larsson was a phenomenal footballer - but I think it's still true to say he liked scoring against Rangers.

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-16 17:22:41

You're not reading my comments accurately Alex. Nothing in any of my posts is contrary or complicated (and none of it is made up, contrived or exaggerated, as you're implying), but let me clarify:

The only point I wanted to get across in my original post is that Murray contributed to the current financial plight of Rangers.

I'll inevitably be repeating myself here, but the following points are all things that aren't strictly relevant to my original tepid post, and which I've had to clarify in response to your replies:

Like I've explained, I'm pissed off by big companies that don't pay their tax. This is anger (like I said), and not the same thing as the moral outrage (faux or otherwise) of which you accuse me.

The only reason I mentioned I'm a socialist was to defend myself from your bizarre accusation that I was playing the 'poor freezing granny' card when all I said was that I suspected the taxpayer would lose out from Craig Whyte's shenanigans. Given our shared opinion of Whyte, I'm sure you'd agree with that. But no, you resorted to accusing me of faux moral outrage. An accusation that's the ultimate get-out card.

(Socialists are allowed to read the Telegraph. Their sports coverage isn't particularly Thatcherite. I'd even say Tories would be allowed to read the Mirror.)

As I've clearly said, I don't think Murray is a vulgar man. But his infamous 'for every five pounds' comment was vulgar. You've massively over-reacted to that.

I'm not on here for grave-dancing. I'm on here to express my opinion of what led Rangers to this position. As a fellow Scottish contributor to WSC, I think my opinion is valid, irrespective of whom I support. And like I said, I take no pleasure in your pain, or that of the decent vast majority of Rangers fans.

It's a long way round to get across my point that Murray was reckless, overspent and took terrible advice when he should have been more careful, but that's my opinion. You say yourself 'he wouldn't have sold to Whyte if Lloyds hadn't pushed him into it.' But they pushed him into it because no one else was willing to touch them. Partly because there's not that many sugar daddies around at the moment, but largely because, under Murray, they were in such a worrying financial position that they were effectively being run by the bank.

Comment by Robert 2012-02-16 17:23:06

@Coral:

The EBT issue has yet to be settled. It is almost irrelevant as far as rangers' current situation is concerned.

The reason Whyte gets most of the blame is because he has been withholding PAYE and VAT to the tune of a million quid a month since he took over.

That is why Rangers are in administration.

It has nothing to do with EBTs.

Comment by Coral 2012-02-16 17:28:45

Cheers, summed up nicely for me. Please note that is not saracastic, a genuine point and not taking pleasure at Rangers downfall and whatever else has been said.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-02-16 17:29:35

@markrpoole - PART III:

Yer Sellik Paranoia? Aye, well - funny story:

I usually like to head for a wee constitutional after me din-dins. I slip in the headphones and - call me a home counties, Daily Mail-reading Tory but I do love a bit of Radio 4. Only thing is I cannae stand The Archers - and that's usually on Radio 4 when I'm oot pounding the beat. FM radio only so, of course, I'm flicking the channels and years ago I decided no good could come of listening to Radio Clyde's phone in - Just a lot of nutters really but then I heard James Traynor's phone-in on Radio Scotland one Saturday and realised that at least the hacks on Clyde were being straight and taking their callers seriously - no matter how little some of them deserved it - and ye'd actually get good info on the stories of the day. With all that's been going down at Ibrox this last few weeks I've become a veritable groupie, tuning in faithfully to Clyde 1 for the same 20 mins or half an hour (depends how big the dinner was) each night. One night Hugh Keevins (a journo who's really gone up in my estimations) gets some guy on accusing him of being blind or needing a white stick as a result of his opinion on some dodgy penalty or the like. Panel chair Jim Delahunt cuts the guy off for insulting disabled people.

Next night another bloke comes on and starts ranting away at Shug, saying that if he doesn't remember saying something he's denying having said then Hugh must have Alzheimers. Jim Delahunt cuts in and ends the call because the caller's being insensitive to Alzheimers sufferers and their carers. Fair enough.

The NEXT night another different guy comes on. And you know he's gonnae be proper nasty because he starts off with 2 or 3 compliments in ultra polite, overtly-reasonable tones. "You're quite right to ban pople off this show if they start insulting groups of disabled people. I applaud you for doing that the last couple of times, Hugh. But ...

But, Hugh - is there or is there not such a medical condition diagnosed by doctors as 'being paranoiad'?"(he should have added schizophrenia, of course, but, we knew what he meant)

Mr Keevins: "Wha ... erm ...?"

"Hugh - are there or are there NOT thousands of people in this country who suffer terribly from a very real condition of paranoia ... it's a mental disability, is it not?"

"Well, now, wait a minute ..."

"and yet you - Hugh Keevins - have, on countles soccasions, for AS LONG AS ANYONE CAN REMEMBER, been consistently accusing Celtic fans of being paranoid???!!! You must be disgusted with yourself. You must therefore ban yourself from your own show. You must know that's an insult to paranoia sufferers and their families. You must ..."

"No. I was merely accusing Celtic fans of being paranoid about ..."

And, as I pished myself laughing and Jim Delahunt cut the guy off and Hugh continued to stammer all you could hear was the caller in the background shouting down the line "ARE YOU A DOCTOR, HUGH? ARE YOU A DOCTOR, HUGH? ARE YOU? ANSWER THE QUESTION? ARE YOU...?"

Clunk. Cut off. God bless the fellah - he gave it a right good go.

Hilarious.

There IS a point ... honest ... see PART IV ...

Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-02-16 17:31:21

@markrpoole - PART IV (see - I told you I give good value:

And, of course, that wee Radio Clyde caller was hilarious because most of us know when and when not to get excited about football shit and we should all know when taking it way out of context just becomes insulting to those real sufferers in the real world who we're shipping in to help us win a football argument.

On Radio Clyde, the callers are perma-angry, perma-upset - nine times out of ten something is an "outrage" or a "disgrace". It was like that when I listened to it on the supporters bus coming back from Ibrox in the 80s and it's like that when I listen to it of a bowel-stirring Tuesday night perambulation in 2012.

What is different, however, is that this time, this particular caller (that's me, by the way. Tortured metaphor, I know, but - please - this thread is the phone-in show), has a GENUINE right to be ever-so slightly p*ssed off and worried. I mean if David fuc*8ing Cameron is talking about Rangers it must be sickeningly serious. If administration is official and liquidation a bona fide possibility then I think this is one time I can reserve the right to get a wee bitty steamed.

Hugh Keevins is not indeed a doctor - but that wasn't really the point. David Murray made a vulgar statement - but it was funny, it was a good old fashioned challenge, some folk would see it as good box office and the kinda stuff which shows a bit of that "character" the game is continually being said to lack and - hey - it was no more or less "vulgar" than Peter Lawell slagging our talk of a £9M bid for Jelavic or John Reid telling your AGM that Celtic had a MORAL DUTY to stay financialy frugal only after he knew Rangers wurnae.

Murray's "vulgar" statement blew up in his face and we'll take that on the chin but - MAN! - did it ever get to you, Mark. Don't pursue it with a bunch of truisms masked as "perfectly valid questions, Hugh". We can all do that.

There's only one off your list worth answering: "Did that quote not characterise the manner in which he ran the club?". Yes, if you find lots of silver ornaments a vulgar way to decorate your house.

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-16 17:31:32

Not sure who's denying that Rangers Tax Case is coming from an anti-Rangers point of view. He's said he's a Celtic fan, and he's admitted to a level of schadenfraude (is that how you spell it?).

The other fact about him is that he somehow came into possession of some very key documentation which has enabled him to build an factually correct blog that is miles ahead of the mainstream media on the story. Often just being party to restricted information is enough reason to publish it. Although I'm not denying that he gets pleasure from Rangers' woes.

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-16 17:40:06

Parts III and IV are more like it Alex. They made a lot of sense to me.

I can easily understand how you'd see Murray's comment as banter.

And I understand how you're hurting/angry. I've been avoiding saying that because it sounds like a shit platitude.

But I'm convinced Rangers will continue to exist, and exist in the SPL, just like there was probably no chance of Celtic disappearing in the 90s. But it didn't seem like it at the time.

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-16 17:42:38

Hey, in the spirit of a Glasgow love-in, why don't I offer to downgrade my 'vulgar' to a 'brash'?

Comment by markrpoole 2012-02-16 17:50:44

I'm off now. Going to watch a Norwegian film in a cafe. Very cosmopolitan, eh? I won't be back here for some time.

Cheers everyone.

Comment by nastynip 2012-02-18 16:21:46

Hi Alex

I think you're letting your heart rule your head a bit at times, but I understand your anguish. I'm not going to get drawn into the argument but I agree with you on Murray. The times he gave us in the mid 90s were surely the greatest the club ever had.

I remember being 12 years old and getting taken to my first ever Champions League game at Ibrox, a 2-2 battle against a typically Teutonic Dortmund side. The following season, the strange case of Erik Bo Anderson popped up to score a late double in the New Year derby, followed shortly after by my first visit to the Parkhead cauldron where injury ravaged and written off, we ground out a win in the tensest 90 minutes I've ever experienced. Theres countless others, but I'm not sure this comments thread is the place to reminisce.

All I can hope is that the current plight doesn't taint those memories too much. Murray may have been partly to blame for all this, but when I think back to Erik's second goal as we went into injury time on that dark festive evening, I think I might forgive him one day.

Comment by TheRedMax 2012-02-20 13:23:16

I can't help feeling that we've all had a little window into Alex's soul during the above "exchanges", and just now it's a very, very dark place indeed. And rightly so.

But I hope Alex that it's been a therapeutic process, and has maybe prevented you from doing something rash.
Close the knife drawer and lock the medicine cupboard. I'll be back later on to check you're still alive & kicking.

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